"Life is like a ride. It has its own ups and downs, skids and slips, discomforts and thrills. It is a rocky, narrow passage at times and a smooth highway pass at others. At times, when one falls, the best thing to do is stand at the roadside and retrospect." These words by biker Candida Louis ring true. Women across the world are shattering glass ceilings and breaking a new path for themselves in domains that initially "belonged to men".
This 28-year-old from Hubli started her journey as a pillion rider when she would go on rides with her father. After getting a bike on one of her birthdays, Louis voyaged into her biking journey, even quitting her job on her road towards a more independent life. She spoke to Outlook Traveller about her journey.
How did you pick up biking?
A wanderlust spirit and a craving for adventure is something I was born with, and for as far back as I can remember, I started young, going on rides with my dad all my initial rides led me to Goa. I've been riding for over 14 years, and it's been an incredible journey. I've always been passionate about riding motorcycles because they gave me the freedom and independence to go anywhere. That is when the travel bug got to me.
Elaborate on one iconic journey you made on your bike.
It is hard to describe one. I usually pick one iconic journey each year. In 2015, I took three months sabbatical and rode through North and South India, covering 30,000 km across 22 states. After I got a taste of the freedom, confidence, and independence that being on a bike offered me, I knew I could never return to a desk job. I came back, resigned, served the notice period and then went back on the road for four months.
In 2018, I went on an epic journey from India to Australia, where I rode through 10 countries and spent eight months on the road covering 29,200 km. And this year, I completed a solo ride through 25 countries in Europe on my Bajaj Dominar.
Have you faced any challenges while on the road?
On any journey, there are always ups and downs. But motorcycles and travelling have taught me to be patient and handle every situation easily as and when they appear. But it's mostly related to finding places to stay and clean toilets on the road. I've always had good experiences with the people I've come across, and I make sure my parents and family are informed of my routes at all times.
Do you feel there is gender disparity in the biking community?
The biking community itself is very supportive towards women bikers. But we need more support from family members as well as educate people on safety. Women need to realise no matter their weight or their height, they can ride a motorcycle; it all comes with practice. I wish things normalise soon and there are more women bikers.